The spark created by the missing $2.2 billion extra budgetary arms procurement deal during the President Jonathan administration is generating enough fire that threatens to consume prominent members of President Jonathan administration.
The quest to locate the whereabouts of the money or the weapons it was used to procure started from the door step of the former National Security Adviser, (NSA), Sambo Dasuki. The lid was blown open by a presidential committee set up to look into arms procurement for the military in their effort to quell the Boko Haram upraising. The interim report of the committee accused the Jonathan administration of extra budgetary spending worth N643.8 billion and $2.2 billion. The report also stated that 513 contracts were awarded at $8,356,525,184.32, N2,189,265,724,404.55 and 54,000.00 Euro.
Meanwhile, while the federal government continues to make more arrests and dig up more facts about the multi-billion Naira arms deal fraud, indications have emerged that those under investigation may have their properties forfeited if found culpable by a competent law court.
Recall that, last month, some former military chiefs who were mentioned as accomplices in the illicit deals, offered to refund some of their loots. The former military chiefs may have decided to play ball so they would be put in consideration for a soft landing.
Anyone of those already arrested who is found guilty, in line with the laws establishing the EFCC, said our source, may have his or her assets seized. And this is what we heard the government agency is seriously working on right now.
The anti-graft agency may also invoke temporary assets forfeiture clause as part of the ongoing probe and arrest in the arms deals.
Thus far, key personalities in the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government have been put under lock while a few may have gained freedom. But the government’s refusal to allow the ex-NSA Sambo Dasuki travel abroad for medical treatment may have been informed by fears that he may also flee.
While no eye lid has been blinked on the N63.8 billion, the stupendous amount of 2.2 billion left made the present government surprise. With the can of worms supposedly opened by Dasuki in a confessional statement to the EFCC, there are indications that EFCC will still haul in more people including the former President, Goodluck Jonathan to explain how the office of NSA received such amount without the former president approval. It must be recalled that, the former president denied giving any approval for such monies. However, recent development indicates that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) is moving against more suspects believed to have received money from the NSA office. Unconfirmed reports claim that Bode George, former Deputy National Chairman of PDP and Peter Odili, former Rivers State Governor received N100 million each. The two men were mentioned by the arrested suspects while the EFCC said they were keeping the two men on their radar. Already, about 22 persons have been arrested so far for questioning. Some of the big fishes already mentioned in the shady deals are:
Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) (N2,193,815,000.00)
Rtd Col. Dasuki was the man in the eye of the storm, the centre of gravity to the disbursement of the missing arms procurement fund. His trouble began with the Department for State Security, (DSS) when he was charged with arm possession and money laundering. He received a court injunction allowing him to travel for medical attention abroad. The DSS refused to allow him leave the country, his house was under the DSS siege technically, placing him under house arrest. He was picked up by the DSS after a former director of Finance in the office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu opened the lid on what transpired. Dasuki was transferred from the DSS to the EFCC on Friday December 3.
Shuaibu Salisu (N600 million)
He was the former Director of Finance and administration in the office of the NSA but more importantly, he was a co-signatory with Dasuki to the NSA office account. He was accused of signing dubious payment and diverted government funds by making illegal payment to his company. His statement to the EFCC was said to have compelled Dasuki to own up to the allegation that indeed, he received from the NNPC certain amount of money. Shuaibu has been linked to owning expensive real estate in Jabi and Dubai. Also, three bank accounts suspected to be operated by Shuaibu had been frozen by the EFCC while three houses in Lake View Estate, Abuja linked to him were seized under the Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause.
Chief Raymond Dokpesi (N2.1 billion)
Dokpesi, founder of Africa Independent Television, (AIT) was arrested on Tuesday 1st December in Abuja after it was discovered that he received from the office of the NSA a sum totaling N2.1 billion. A source was quoted saying the money could be payment for the documentary produced and aired by the TV station on President Buhari, Ahmed Tinubu and former Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
It should be recalled that prior to his arrest, the EFCC has invited the Daar Communications Holding, a mother company to AIT to explain an alleged contracts between the company and the NSA office. Dokpesi, however, denied any wrong doing as the money he collected from the NSA office was payment for publicity and media political campaigns for the 2015 general election. Although, his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome insisted that he was invited to make statement concerning the money, a spokesperson for the EFCC, however, confirmed that Dokpesi was indeed arrested. Nevertheless, Dokpesi claimed that the money he received from the office of the NSA was for publicity and media campaign for the former president re-election bid. He has since been released after meeting his bail condition, which are that he keeps his travel documents with EFCC and provide two sureties, who must be Directors in the Federal Civil Service. He has since met the condition and has been granted bail but the EFCC has got a court injunction to detain him.
Attahiru Bafarawa (N4.1 billion) & Son (N100 million)
The former Sokoto State Governor alongside his son were also arrested in connection with the diverted arms procurement money. It was alleged by the EFCC that the former governor was used by former President Goodluck Jonathan and former NSA to launder about N4.1 billion part of the arms procurement money warehouse in the office of the NSA. Rumour has it that Bafarawa was in hiding until his son arrested by the EFCC ranted on his father’s whereabouts.
Bello Haliru (N600 million)
The former minister of defence and former National Chairman of PDP is also in EFCC custody, because his son was accused of receiving the sum of N600 Million from the arm procurement money through a company named Bam Properties Ltd.
Bashir Yuguda (N1.2 Billion)
Yuguda, a former Minister of State for Finance was arrested on November 30, as part of investigation into $2.2 billion arms procurement scandal. He was being questioned over the monies he received from the NSA office running into billions. He was alleged to have collected N1.2 billion through his company. Also, he also received about N775 million from the Accountant General of the Federation and another N1.275 billion from Stallion Group during the presidential campaign.